Brian and I had the pleasure of hosting my little niece Camille this weekend.  As I have mentioned before, our apartment is extremely small and so when you combine two adults, one active 2 year old, and an insane dog, things get a little crazy  (and occasionally results in calling animal poison control – yes, there is such a thing).  All joking aside, I love spending time with my Camidoodle.  I love talking to her in bed in the morning, walking down the street to get snow cones, having tea parties, and when she spends the weekend with us, I always make us breakfast on Saturday.

So, this weekend we made “Pink” Pancakes (aka beet pancakes).  You see, like many kids her age Cami has a vegetable problem.  I think this is an extra-sensitive subject for me since I just spent a year pleading with moms to even just offer one serving of vegetables a day.  Unlike my WIC clients, her distaste for vegetables is of no fault of her mother.  My sister spent long hours in the kitchen making months worth of homemade baby food and since I have even watched her painstakingly stuff sticks of zucchini into the crevasses of penne pasta.  Even after all that trouble however, hardly a vegetable (except some purple cauliflower recently) crosses Cami’s lips.

I am absoultely in love with the Good to the Grain cookbook by Kim Boyce.  It is full of breathtaking pictures and wholesome, yet yummy, whole-grain baked goods.  One of the first pictures in the book is of these bright, pink, pancakes sizzling away on a cast-iron griddle and I have kept this recipe on my “to-do” list since I was given this book.  The humble beet (I can never say “beet” without an image of Dwight Schrute forming in my head), is the key to the beautiful color and I thought, “what a pretty way to get that niece of mine to eat vegetables…for breakfast?!”

Earlier in the week I roasted some beets, served them with  Fava Panzanella, and saved the leftovers to use in the recipe.

Cami loved the pancakes and kept asking for more!  I thought they tasted a lot like traditional pancakes with a hint of the beets’ earthiness and grassy flavor in the background.

Beet Pancakes

Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Makes about 16 pancakes

Note – I recommend roasting the beets ahead of time.  To do this, heat oven to 400° F, scrub three beets and wrap each in a piece of foil, place directly on oven rack and roast until very tender, 1 hour.  Let cool slightly and then peel off the skin.  Enjoy as a side dish and save enough to use in pancakes.  Puree the leftovers in a food processor (should have 1/2 cup).

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 egg

1/2 cup beet puree (see above)

Mix the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, melted butter, egg, and beet puree until smooth.  Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients and gently combine.  The batter should be the consistency of lightly whipped cream and crimson in color.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan.  Rub the pan generously with butter; this is the key to wonderfully crispy edges.  Working quickly, dollop 1/4-cup mounds of batter onto the pan, 2 or 3 at a time.  Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancake, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total.  Wipe the pan with a cloth before working with the next batch.  Rub the pan with butter and repeat with the rest of the batter.

Serve the pancakes hot with a pitcher of warm maple syrup.


*Excuse the bad pictures on this post, I haven’t mastered taking pictures when it is still dark and there isn’t natural light and I don’t have a fancy flash yet.  Any photographers out there have any tips?